“I made $2,000 for the family today!”

I like to announce my return home with a bit of fanfare. And telling stories is cheaper than renting trumpeting heralds. 

My wife believed me, but only for a moment. Must’ve been my current full-time volunteer position that tattled. 

“$2,000,” I insisted. You’re only as good as your belief level. And I was in a believing mood.

After all, I had just come home with my annual Saints-will-win-the-Super-Bowl bet. At 40-1, a $2,000 reward is not far away. Or, at least, not hard to get printed.

Back in 2015, I began my yearly practice of donating to casinos in memory (or ecstatic prophecy?) of the Saints. That year the Black and Gold opened its season against the Cardinals in Phoenix—which presented a short trip to Las Vegas. In the old days, dear reader, a sports wager could only be (legally) placed in that one Nevada town. You had to factor airfare into your level of belief. Such flying, born-again faith is no longer necessary in our land of text-to-bet plenty.

In many ways, though, I am still a traditionalist. I like to carry my cash, find my teller, and hold my printed slip. And I no longer even have to cross the Mississippi state-line to do it. This year’s bounty arrived after only a quick trip to Harrah’s, the streetcar waiting out front to deliver me home. Do they know I’m carrying $2,000 in my front pocket (subject to only a few, minor, future eventualities)?!

Harrah’s is convenient, but there’s nothing like that first ticket in Vegas. That one really charted my path.

Like the Saints in that Arizona opener, my losing started immediately. 

The year of the Minneapolis Miracle? Vegas had the Saints, coming off three consecutive 7-9 seasons, on the board at 70-1. The NOLA No Call. The Kyle Rudolph Push Off. The Jared Cook Cough Up. The … whatever exactly last year was.

When the payout is 0, the odds don’t much matter. 

But this year will be different!

A team with less depth—but also that brutal 17-game schedule. A team with its star quarterback-wide receiver duo exchanging audibles—but also orthopedic diagnoses. A team with only one pending legal matter—but also one fewer left tackle. Where’s the room for doubt?

Everyone’s a winner in August. 

As the Saints begin their on-the-field journey Saturday night in Houston, I’ll keep all this in mind, all things in perspective, all hands off my sure-fire investment.

There are only so many ways to commit February funds in August.

 

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Hau’oli Kikaha, Brandon Coleman, Rob Ryan. Those 2015 Saints were just built different. Relive that Arizona game if you dare.

But that was then. Now’s the time to dust off the belief. As my grandfather would say, just don’t bet the kids’ tuition on it.